Dear Blake,

I have a pet peeve with my husband’s family and am wondering if I am wrong. My in-laws often pick up a toothpick and use it while we are still seated at the dinner table at our house. They leave their used toothpicks lying around. It’s disgusting! Is there any written protocol about the use of toothpicks?

Signed, Annette

From Frankfurt, Kentucky

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Dear Annette,

To my knowledge, there is no etiquette in regard to toothpicks. Which means you can create the rules, and enforce them ruthlessly. Here’s a few ideas. Inform your in-laws, that any toothpick left on the table at your house, will be placed inside their next meal. Or, you can criticize how awful their teeth look, and make them feel so self-conscious, that they don’t want to open their mouth around you, unless they are wearing a surgical mask. Tell them if you see any one of them with a toothpick in their mouth, you will conclude that they feel eating wood is healthy, and you’ll sprinkle saw dust on everything you cook for them. But the easiest thing for you to do, is when you invite them over for dinner, only prepare food that does not require toothpicks. And it’ll be just a matter of time before they get tired of eating oatmeal, Jello, and grits. I hope this helps.